Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All in One Place, but Not in Place

Here's our intrepid worker, Mike, finishing up a corner in our new home.

Small sampling of the boxes left to unpack in my studio. View toward east side of studio.

More boxes to unpack. View of west side of studio.

We did the big move last Friday and Saturday. Hired 2 Men and a Truck. They were quite remarkable. Two rather average sized guys showed up at our door on Friday morning and I thought Uh-Oh, how are they going to do this? I've never seen such strength packed in 2 not very big people.

They parked the van on Vananda and ran a ramp across the sidewalk (in the air) onto the property in front of our apartment. Everything had to be carted up the entry way stairs. They literally ran from the truck to the apt. each time they dropped off a load of boxes. It took them more time than budgeted to pack, not because they were slow, but because we had so much stuff in our apartment.

By about 5 p.m. they tackled my studio. I couldn't watch as they carried the press down the stairs. They got it down without injuring themselves, or the press. I breathed a major sigh of relief.

In addition to everything else, we had a rented storage space. Even though the van appeared full, the heroic 2 Men insisted on going to the storage room, where they unpacked a chunk of the van, repacking and fitting all our additional stuff in.

They drove to Tucson. We drove to Oracle. Didn't get home until about 10 pm.

The 2 Men arrived at 7:30 am the next morning, raring to go. Oh, to be young again. Anyway, they unpacked much faster than they packed, leaving us with mountains of boxes among our not quite completed phase 1 renovation.

Been unpacking ever since. I know I won't remember where I put half the stuff. My studio is beginning to take shape.

It's all in Oracle. We're here! My next post will be back to making art. I promise!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Boy Eats Broccoli (with Thanks to Carla Reed, Jeremiah and Corinne)

Twenty some years ago, our son Mathew was born. He was very early. 3 1/2 months early to be exact. He spent a long time on a respirator in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. He weighed 3 lbs., 15 oz. when we were finally able to take him home. He was still on oxygen and needless to say, was very fragile.

It wasn't until he was 10 years old that I created the painting you see. The images in the small canvases are xerox transfers of the photos my husband Jim took while Mat was in the NICU. I used gel medium to create a "skin", which held the ink from the xerox, once the paper was dissolved in water. I painted over the top of the images. They're a bit hard to see at this size.

The first is of Mat in the incubator with multiple tubes running in and out of him. The hands are mine and Mat's big brother, Jeremiah's.

The second is of me, holding Mat. This was a very big deal. He was 3 weeks old before he was strong enough to be taken out of his incubator. It took 2 nurses to get him out, what with all the wires and tubes that had to come with him.

The third image is of Jim, looking into the incubator. I took the original photo.

The fourth is of Jeremiah, holding his brother. At this point, Mat was in "Feeding and Growing", the area in the NICU where the job of the infant is to eat and get big enough to go home. Jeremiah was such a trooper during the whole time Mat was in the hospital. He brought his homework every night and did it by Mat's bedside. I don't think he ever once complained about all the time he had to spend at the hospital.

Guess who?! Yes, this is Mathew. Home from college. Eating broccoli, and a variety of raw food items he prepared for himself for lunch.

Now, this might seem like nothing to remark on. But it is. A family joke has always been that Mat never lets anything green enter his mouth except mint chip ice cream. Getting him to eat as a baby and then for most of his growing up years was no joke at all. He needed the food to grow. And he needed to grow so that his lungs would grow, allowing them to get healthy. Eating just didn't appeal much to Mat. He did eventually eat ice cream. And bean burritos. And noodles with butter. And very little else.

His physical therapist when he was little had a mission. It was to teach Mat to tie his shoes. And to eat broccoli. Many sessions were taken with Carla Reed touting the splendors of broccoli. Steaming broccoli. Adding butter and other condiments. Offering it to Mat. Mat would gamely let a morsel go into his mouth, only to gag and spit it out.

I credit Mat's wonderful brother Jeremiah and Corinne, Jere's significant other, for the breakthrough you see in the photo above. Jeremiah and Corinne changed their diet to Raw Food when Mat was visiting during spring break. Apparently, it rubbed off on Mat.

There he is, actually voluntarily eating broccoli and other green things. Wonders never cease! Thank you, Jeremiah and Corinne.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Something Stinks, or There's a Foul Odor in My New Studio

So here it is. My new studio. I'm partially moved in, and have 2 paintings I'm ready to dive into. The one on the left is almost done. The one on the right has just barely been started.

Two things are stopping me from getting to work. Well, maybe three. Actually, maybe four.

Excuse #1
In the foreground, you see buckets of paint. I'm deep into painting walls and floors in our new home. I keep thinking, I'll just do one more project. That one leads to another. The domino effect.

Excuse #2
My son Mat is coming home from college tomorrow. I'm very excited. Since we're brand new to the area and have been deep into house renovation, we really haven't explored Oracle, much less the surrounding area. There are all kinds of possibilities out there, and I'd love to spend time with Mat and his Dad checking things out.

Excuse #3
The Odor. Several weeks ago, it came to my attention that something was living in the wall and ceiling of my studio bathroom. I could hear activity–scuttling about with scritchy-scratchy little feet. Upon examination, I discovered numerous fecal offerings. Too large for a mouse.

We got a trap. The nice kind, kind. You trap the critter and take it far away and let it go. Our friend tripped the trap, got the food and got away. While Jim was on the ladder retrieving the empty trap, he looked down, and guess what was at the foot of the ladder? Yes, our friend the pack rat. Jim captured him (her) and took it on a ride out to some open land, where he let it go.

End of story?

Well, I haven't heard any noises. But I thought I was beginning to detect a bit of an odor in the studio. Every day it's gotten a little worse. This morning when I opened the door, I was bowled over by the smell. It literally made my eyes water. Even with the doors and windows open, the smell prevails.

Now what to do? Do I have dead baby Pack Rats in my wall? An unexpected dilemma.

Is this just an excuse? Maybe. Perhaps I should acquire some sort of gas mask to wear while working in my brand new studio. Or tear out the wall and see what's inside. A kind of CSI for the art studio.

Excuse #4

This is the real reason. Whenever I have a period of time when I'm not working, it's really difficult to get back into it. When I paint on a daily basis, I'm happy. I'm fulfilled. When I'm not working regularly, I get nasty. But somehow, it's devilishly hard to get started again. It doesn't make sense, but, there it is.